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Interview with Dorothy Love

Whether it was love of golden retrievers, love of southern history, or just her sweet spirit that comes through even in e-mail, Dorothy has drawn me to her since she joined ACFW. I’ve appreciated her on common historical lists, and believe you all will appreciate her practical, yet creative and spiritual truths she shares with us.

You started your publishing career writing YA. Will you please tell us about this and why you changed genres?

Before leaving my day job to write full time I worked as a school administrator. I was around kids all day and understood how they thought and behaved. I loved them, so writing for them was a natural outgrowth of that, and of my own love of YA books when I was a teenager. I’m giving away my age here, but I absolutely adored books by Anne Emery, Rosamond du Jardin and Betty Cavanna. I also loved history and wrote several historical novels for preteens. As those readers grew up, I wrote novels that reflected their new experiences and hopes. A few years ago much YA literature trended toward darker stories that I had no desire to read or to write. I have always felt called to write books that lift readers up, that are told without the need for profanity or graphic situations, and the Christian market just became a better fit for me. I love writing Southern historical fiction. It’s my thing.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Learning to say no. Learning to ignore the dog hair under the sofa. It’s often hard for me to turn my brain off at night. I keep writing scenes in my head. I tend to be so focused on work that I have to be reminded to take a breath.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
With each book I hope to give readers some food for thought, some hope, some joy. My favorite quote from the Bible is the one which says nothing can separate us from the love of God. Sometimes in the darkest moments of life, it’s hard to remember that He is still there. I try to remind readers of this through my stories.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
It’s hard to think of just one. Getting that first contract back in 1995 was a thrill. I’d written and submitted and endured a thousand no’s for five long years before getting to yes. Winning an award is always nice. Getting an offer for the Hickory Ridge series at Thomas Nelson was a huge moment. Last month my author’s copies of Beyond All Measure thumped onto my front porch. Holding that first finished copy is always a great moment, whether it’s the first book or the fifteenth. Walking into a bookstore and seeing the book on the shelf. Getting a note from a reader who enjoyed the book. A literary life is made up of these small victories.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I grew up in a small Southern town where everyone told stories. I’ve always wanted to make up stories of my own. Ideas usually come from a question or a truth I want to explore for myself. Imagining life in the 19th century, I often choose characters I’d like to be if I’d lived back then. I edited my college newspaper back in the day, and I love the newspaper business. So the protag of the third Hickory Ridge book is a newspaperwoman.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Hmm. Other people have said it’s my Southern voice and Southern sensibility, and my ability to weave history into a fictional narrative.

Any parting words?
Writing is the best job on the planet. There’s no heavy lifting involved, and you don’t need special shoes.

Thanks for sharing with us, Dorothy!

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